SCDF fighting wood waste fire in Choa Chu Kang; 4-storey high flames cover football field-sized area

The blaze at 131 Lorong Semangka in Choa Chu Kang is believed to be caused by wood waste left in the area by a company.
The blaze at 131 Lorong Semangka in Choa Chu Kang is believed to be caused by wood waste left in the area by a company.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE / FACEBOOK
The blaze at 131 Lorong Semangka in Choa Chu Kang is believed to be caused by wood waste left in the area by a company.
The blaze at 131 Lorong Semangka in Choa Chu Kang is believed to be caused by wood waste left in the area by a company. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE / FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A fire covering the size of a football field and with flames nearly four storeys high broke out on Friday morning (Feb 14), with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) involved in ongoing firefighting operations that have lasted more than 18 hours as of 8pm.

Operations are expected to continue through the night, SCDF said.

The blaze at 131 Lorong Semangka in Choa Chu Kang, which began at 1.30am, is raging in an open plot of land and is believed to be caused by wood waste left in the area by a company, an SCDF spokesman told The Straits Times.

He did not name the company and said more details would be released by the authorities later.

The SCDF said in a Facebook post that dry vegetation and windy conditions in the area have complicated firefighting efforts.

"This is expected to be a prolonged firefighting operation," it warned.

No injuries have so far been reported, the police said.

Many in Jurong West reported a burning smell in the morning, with some mistakenly thinking that the haze season caused by fires in Indonesia was back.

As at 8pm on Friday, a total of nine emergency vehicles and about 70 firefighters have been deployed to the site. Operations are still ongoing due to the slow burning of the deep-seated piles, SCDF said.

Firefighters surrounded the fire with seven water jets and created fire breaks - physical gaps between flammable materials - to contain the fire.

They  had to manually lay hoses across considerable distances to tap water supply from four fire hydrants and a river to maintain a constant water supply for the firefighting operations.

Portable pumps also had to be set up at intermediate points to boost water pressure for effective firefighting, SCDF added.

On Wednesday, the SCDF said it responded to more fires last year than the year before, with those categorised as vegetation fires increasing by more than half. 

There were 883 cases of such fires last year, largely due to the sustained dry weather from January to March, as well as from July to September, it said.